Ohio State is 17-1 versus teams representing the Mid American Conference.
By GARY HOUSTEAU
COLUMBUS -- A win is a win is a win.
So says Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel whose Buckeyes trounced Kent State 51-17 Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
"I thought our guys came out of the gate pretty well coming off of an open week," Tressel said. "Our defense really set up the whole stage with allowing us great field position and also scoring 14 of their own points early in the ballgame."
This was the first meeting between Ohio State and Kent State. The Buckeyes are 17-1 vs. teams representing the Mid American Conference.
The Buckeyes' plan on offense centered around executing a no-huddle passing attack that was installed for the game. That plan obviously helped quarterback Craig Krenzel to complete his first 11 passes against the Golden Flashes.
Going back to his last completion against Texas Tech, Krenzel tied an OSU record for consecutive passes completed with 12. He finished connecting for 12 of 14 aerials for 190 yards and one touchdown.
"As far as passing the football, I thought he made good decisions throwing the football and good decisions when there wasn't anything there," Tressel said.
The first-half scoring onslaught began with the aid of a special teams play on KSU's first offensive series when Donnie Nickey partially blocked a Kent punt from the 15-yard line.
Five plays later, Warren Harding graduate Maurice Clarett of Youngstown culminated a 31-yard drive on Ohio State's first offensive possession by going over right guard from 2 yards out for a touchdown.
"I think anytime that you can make a big special teams play, there's something about the electricity in that," Tressel said. "Nickey's blocked punt was certainly a catalyst for us.
"But also when you can score points with your defense, that's extraordinary," Tressel said. "That's just something that you don't count on and it's quite a bonus."
Tressel was obviously referring to Mike Doss' 45-yard interception return of a Joshua Cribbs pass for a touchdown on Kent's second possession that put Ohio State up, 14-0.
Later in the second quarter, freshman linebacker A.J. Hawk returned another interception 34 yards that gave OSU a 38-0 lead with more than seven minutes remaining in the half.
"I think after it became 38-0, I don't know that we played to the top of our game, although I think our guys were really working to try to do that," Tressel said.
"Probably the thing that displeases us the most is we fumbled the ball twice and allowed Kent to get the ball in our own territory," Tressel said.
Both Clarett and Maurice Hall were guilty of putting the ball on the turf, resulting in turnovers.
After a stellar performance in week one, Clarett was held to 64 yards on 12 carries, but still recorded two touchdowns,
The second one came on a 7-yard pass from Krenzel early in the second quarter to put the Buckeyes up 28-0.
Hall, who scored on a 28-yard jaunt, had just two carries for 38 yards.
"Outside of the fumbles, I don't think our rushing game was too bad," Tressel said.
Kent State managed two late first-half scores on a pair of touchdown passes from Cribbs to cut the lead to 38-14 at the half.
"We had great respect for Joshua Cribbs coming in," Tressel said. "He can throw the ball, he can make you miss when you're chasing him, he can break contain when you think you have contain held, and he knows where his people are."
Mike Nugent added second-half field goals of 45 and 33 yards to go along with his 40-yarder in the first half and tight end Ryan Hamby capped the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Scott McMullen.
Kent State led OSU in a few categories, including first downs, rushing attempts, yards rushing, total offensive plays (80-47) and time of possession (39:12 to 20:48).
"Our goal is to throw for 250 and rush for 200 and score 40 points," Tressel said. "That's what we want to become. We have a long way to go. We understand that."
OSU--Clarett 2 run (Nugent kick), 12:16.
OSU--Doss 45 interception return (Nugent kick), 9:21.
OSU--Hall 28 run (Nugent kick), 4:35.
OSU--Clarett 7 pass from Krenzel (Nugent kick), 13:57.
OSU--FG Nugent 40, 9:05.
OSU--Hawk 34 interception return (Nugent kick), 7:31.
KSU--Moore 28 pass from Cribbs (Mayle kick), 3:11.
KSU--King 8 pass from Cribbs (Mayle kick), :24.
OSU--FG Nugent 33, 11:49.
OSU--FG Nugent 45, 14:56.
KSU--FG Mayle 33, 8:25.
OSU--Hamby 18 pass from McMullen (Nugent kick), 4:09.
Time of Possession39:1220:48
RUSHING--Kent St., Cribbs 21-94, King 9-34, Newton 6-23, Beccles 9-20. Ohio St., Clarett 12-64, Hall 2-38, Ross 4-28, Krenzel 2-11, Riley 2-3.
PASSING--Kent St., Cribbs 14-31-2-160, Polk 3-4-0-27. Ohio St., Krenzel 12-14-0-190, McMullen 7-11-0-78.
RECEIVING--Kent St., Dowery 7-68, Moore 3-48, Kemp 2-17, Medley 1-20, Coley 1-15, Buckosh 1-9, King 1-8, Beccles 1-2. Ohio St., Gamble 6-87, Jenkins 4-89, Hamby 2-29, Carter 2-17, Clarett 2-16, Childress 1-14, Ross 1-8, Hartsock 1-8.